(Video) Conor McGregor releases new UFC sparring footage and shows off superb shape

Irish MMA icon Conor McGregor has been absent from the UFC since his loss to Dustin Poirier in their much-anticipated trilogy bout. This hiatus has left fans questioning if we’ll ever witness his return to the octagon. McGregor’s impact on MMA is undeniable, and his absence is keenly felt.

Expectations were high for McGregor’s return this year, especially after he announced his upcoming bout with Michael Chandler as part of the TUF series. But an official date remains elusive as McGregor grapples with PED-testing agency USADA.

In 2021, McGregor entered the trilogy bout with Poirier in less-than-ideal form. Misfortune struck as he suffered a leg injury in the opening round, leading to another defeat.

While many anticipated the 35-year-old’s return this year, an official date is yet to be confirmed. This is despite his commitment to face Chandler as per UFC president Dana White’s announcement.

McGregor’s return timeline is predominantly contingent on his USADA status. Combatants are required to be enrolled for six months before becoming eligible to compete.

Although slots for pay-per-view events have been reserved, it seems he won’t be granted permission to return until 2024. When he does, it’s likely that Chandler will be his opponent.

Recently, McGregor tantalized fans by sharing videos of his rigorous training sessions on social media.

Addressing his next bout on social media, McGregor stated: “They’re not going to let me fight in December, ladies and gentlemen. I’m going to buoy down and soldier on. I’m ready. I wanted an announcement for UFC 296 for December 16. I’ve given everything. So, it’s not going to happen. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.”

In recent times, McGregor has been making public appearances. He’s been celebrating the nationwide launch of his Forged Irish Stout drink with grand parties. At one event, he tested his strength on an arcade-style boxing punch machine at his Black Forge Inn pub.

Despite a powerful left-hand strike that boosted his score, fans were underwhelmed as it fell short of his previous record.